Moral Perception

Moral Perception





Moral Perception


The primary reason behind ethical anti-realism is a strong skepticism about knowledge of morals. Many realists have attempted to argue against this worry by carrying out moral studies. With many of the recent information, it is discovered that many people know moral facts through perception, for example, one can literally notice that an action is right or wrong.

According to McBrayer (2010), it is admitted that a casual connection should exist between the perceiver and the perceived. However, there is an objection on the same with an argument that we are not in a suitable casual contact with the moral entities. For that reason, no one can identify moral properties.

Mackie’s Views

There are several views illustrated by Mackie (1977) concerning moral perception. The first view is moral skepticism. A person who is skeptic about morals is one who declines morality and takes no notice of it. Such a person who rejects moral judgments may likely be making his own moral judgments, and putting across a positive moral criticism of all that conventionally goes by morality. This person may also confuse the two logical incompatible views and claim to decline morality while he in fact rejects only a particular moral presently in the society he grew up in. Any person adopting these first order moral views will be taking a definite practical, normative stand.

Another view is the status of values of morals and the nature of valuing morals about where and how they fit in the society. This view is independent from the first one. A person could hold strong ethical views, and still believe that they are simply policies and attitudes. There is a misunderstanding when it comes to moral skepticism. It is hard to understand how one could deny that there is a no similarity between a good and bad action (Mackie, 1977).

Another view under moral subjectivism states that everyone have to do what he thinks he should do. In moral subjectivism, the judgments are equal to the information of someone’s attitudes and feelings. Mackie explains that if people were aware of the moral values, then they would do something about them. With this sort of subjectivism, it concluded that moral skepticism is involved.

The Argument from Relativity

With the views, Mackie explains that strong points are needed to support them. There are two arguments that he argued regarding his views. The arguments are two namely, argument from relativity and argument from queerness. The argument from relativity bases on various moral codes from one society to another, different periods and moral beliefs between people. The moral judgments have been there in many societies in history. There have been and still there are moral reformers who turn against the rules and practices established by communities for certain moral reasons. Moral relativism explains that there are different moral values held by different people. According to this theory, there is no act that is bad or good but, there is good or bad within a particular framework. An action may be good according to someone but it might be bad to another. Mackie argues that there are disagreement about the moral codes that reflect adherence and participation of people in different ways of life. For example, in a certain culture people agree on monogamy because they live in a way of life that is monogamous. This argument is in reality based on the fact that we humans are historically and culturally situated, and we cannot behave without using certain rules which may lead to implausible conclusions (1977).

Arguments against Relativism

There are arguments against this theory of relativism. First of all, with a cross-cultural standard, it is possible to criticize a certain culture to being superior to another in terms of morals. The moral relativism argument explains that it is not possible to make lawful moral contrast between cultures over time, and judge if it is getting worse or improving. A society might have made a progress in terms of morals but, relativism does not take this into account

There are many reformers who have helped in bringing about changes that improved the morals in the society. Based on the theory of relativism, these people are bad since they acted contrary to the values of the society. An example is those who helped in the abolition of slavery. The final argument against this theory is the fact that we have no right to ask whether a certain action is good or bad in the society’s rules and standards of morals. Therefore, it is important that we understand this theory and know its consequences since, this theory and philosophy has impacts on the society.

The Arguments from Queerness

Mackie explains more on his opinion concerning morals with the argument from queerness. This theory points out two complexities namely, metaphysically and epistemologically. Metaphysically, it states that moral values are completely different and unique type of property from anything in the world. Therefore, approving them requires people to imagine these qualities as very strange and different from any other thing in the universe (1977).Epistemologically, Mackie states that in order for one to understand this uniqueness of morals, he needs extraordinary ability of moral intuition from ordinary ways of understanding anything. These two arguments are dependent, because we are forced to imagine the strange epistemological tools when the moral values are established to be weird. Between the two, the metaphysical theory stands out to be more firm (1977).

The Argument from Queerness, according to Mackie, illustrates in a generic sense that whenever an individual disagrees that morality is committed in a society, and that society’s moral values are weird, and ontologically out of control, then one has offered a sort of Argument from Queerness. In brief, this argument makes moral values seem to be items that can be touched, felt and heard. In human sense, this values are invincible (Mackie, 1977).

The Arguments against Queerness

Mackie is right on the point that morals are unique compared to other things in the universe such as trees, but these morals are part of everyone’s life and this is no argument to reject them. Morals do not need to be recognized as per experience or principles as bad or right. Based on Mackie’s argument, it is unrealistic to feel, touch, hear and taste moral values since they are impregnable. We cannot detect essence or property of goodness and badness or evil. There are no instruments to measure these values. However, we can measure all the other things, objects and get their weight, mass and force. In conclusion, there are no experimental moral facts that prove that morals are queer and it is difficult to indicate and explain what these values are, how they work and if we can notice them.


In view of these explanations, Mackie’s theories illustrate how he thinks concerning morals. He believes that moral perception is passed through with aspirations at large. He believes that this is due to natural human inclinations. He also thinks that the challenging facts of the good and bad moral values are part of everyone’s philosophy. Thus, there are obligations, values and reasons that make the society and each individual to develop these moral values. However, the society’s moral standards may be erroneous in some ways, and Mackie thinks that everyone should examine and figure out that morals developed from and remain supported by the society or institution.

No explanation of non-moral facts can be adequate to comprehend a moral fact. It possible to justify moral metaphysics the same way psychological metaphysics can be justified. Even if we are not sure whether thoughtful evidence can adequately validate that moral values cannot be reduced, we can be certain that strong evidence can be dependable. Therefore, self-observation is considered valuable.

Work Cited

BIBLIOGRAPHY l 1033 Mackie, J. L. “From Ethics.” Inventing Right and Wrong (1977): 89-100.

McBrayer, Justin P. Moral Perception And The Causal Objection. USA: Springer, 2010.

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